Splatter film censorship attempt?
A few days ago I received an email from the administrators at youtube regarding the current trailer we have listed for Inhumane, informing me that it’s content was too explicit for regular viewers and would have to tagged as “adult content”. Usually, I would take this as a useless act of censorship since the content rating system on youtube is primarily based on nudity and drug use. Not language and violence. But since we are trying to send an actual message as independent filmmakers I really have more pride than prejudice concerning their decision to tag our film as offense to others. Much like other splatter/slasher films from the past that received automatic criticism and comical accusations upon their release, we too welcome any and all people who feel the need to express their revulsion due to what they experienced when watching one of our films.
Take for example, the 1963 splatter film “Blood Feast” directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis.
“Blood Feast is a low budget horror film about an insane Egyptian caterer who kills people so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his “Egyptian goddess” Ishtar (the deity in question is actually Babylonian). Blood Feast immediately became notorious for its explicit blood, gore and violence. Blood Feast is often cited erroneously as one of the first films to show people dying with their eyes open.” – Blood Feast wikipedia
Basically, this film was one of the first American productions that truly raised the bar in regards to the actual display of cinematic gore and realistic acts of violence. So as all things go with human nature, the critics automatically began to attack this genre that they failed to appreciate or understand.
“A Variety review of May 6, 1964 termed the film a “totally inept shocker”, “incredibly crude and unprofessional from start to finish”, and “an insult even to the most puerile and salacious of audiences”. The review labeled the entire production a “fiasco”, calling Louise Downe’s screenplay “senseless” and the acting “amateurish”. Of Lewis’ direction, camerawork and musical composition, the review judged that he had “failed dismally on all three counts”.” – Blood Feast wikipedia
And in reply Blood Feast producer David Friedman had this to say.
“In response to Variety’s criticism of the film, Friedman wrote: “Herschell and I have often wondered who told the Variety scribe we were taking ourselves seriously.”
As you can see from one of the first examples of censorship towards splatter film, the critics seem to take their comments and accusations seriously where the filmmakers have the ability to take that negativity and use it to attract a target audience in mass numbers. Coming from my standpoint as a filmmaker, the only true way to handle negative criticism is to consider the source of the comments versus the opinions of those who truly understand and appreciate the genre. If someone who loved watching Full House on a regular basis can’t relate to my film because it isn’t family friendly, that’s their prerogative. I’m not going to lose any sleep at night because of it. I’m going to keep writing these stories and making these kind of films because it’s what I love doing. No person should have to drop their own personal goals and ambitions for the sake of distasteful feedback.
So youtube, go ahead and censor us because at the end of the day it’s doing nothing more than bringing us that much closer to where we need to be.